U.S. Department of the InteriorDOI News Header
Office of the Secretary
April 26, 2007
Isabel Benemelis-Nicoli
(202) 208-7975


Interior Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett to Visit Puerto Rico

The Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior Lynn Scarlett will be visiting Puerto Rico from Friday, April 27 thru Monday, April 30, 2007. This is the Deputy Secretary's first trip to the island and she has several briefings, tours and events planned during her visit. Scarlett will be accompanied by the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Department of the Interior, Doug Domenech, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Todd Willens.

Friday, April 27: Scarlett will tour the National Park Service's San Juan National Historic Site and join park employees as they celebrate National Park Week with the inauguration of a Junior Ranger Program at the site. During her remarks, Scarlett will highlight the President’s National Park Centennial Initiative, a $3 billion dollar public and private investment over the next 9 years to prepare parks for their 100th anniversary in 2016. This historic multi-year investment began with the President's proposed $2.4 billion FY 2008 national park budget – the largest ever proposed for operations and programs that benefit parks.

Scarlett will also issue a Take Pride in America® Appreciation certificate to the Fixed Regiment of Puerto Rico. The volunteer re-enactment group portrays the first Puerto Rican regiment that protected the fort during the 1790s. The 28 members participate in marches, drills, weapons and uniform maintenance and strive to educate the public about the life and times of soldiers, militia and their families who lived in and around the fort during the 18th century. The group has collectively volunteered more than 1850 hours. Manuel L. Iravedra, the group’s leader, will accept the certificate on behalf of the group. Take Pride in America is a national partnership managed by the Interior Department that encourages, supports and recognizes volunteers who work to improve our public parks, forests, grasslands, reservoirs, wildlife refuges, cultural and historic sites, local playgrounds, and other recreation areas.

Saturday, April 28: Scarlett will be the keynote speaker at the grand opening of the Iguaca Aviary. The new aviary is a state-of-the-art captive-breeding facility for the Puerto Rican parrot, one of the world’s most endangered birds. In partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, the Service has been actively working on recovery of the species for more than 30 years.

To inaugurate the new aviary, the Fish and Wildlife Service moved two Puerto Rican parrots from the old aviary at Luquillo into the new facility at El Yunque National Forest. The new facility offers many advantages, including more space for outdoor cages and a quarantine room that will increase the Service’s capacity to exchange birds with the Rio Abajo aviary, managed by the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources – a key partner in the effort. Deputy Secretary Scarlett also will recognize the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees and partners that made the Iguaca Aviary possible through their work and donations.

Sunday, April 29: Scarlett will tour Fish and Wildlife Service facilities on the Island and will be briefed on the status of projects by employees of the Caribbean Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Monday, April 30: Deputy Secretary Scarlett will join the Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Anibal Acevedo Vila, and the Executive Director of The Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico, Fernando Lloveras at an event at the Cabezas de San Juan Lighthouse in Fajardo.

The Following Events Are Open to the Media:

Inauguration of the New Junior Ranger Program at San Juan National Historic Site

When: 1:30 p.m., Friday, April 27, 2007
Where: San Juan National Historic Site, San Juan
Main Plaza of Castillo San Cristobal


Grand Opening of Iguaca Puerto Rican Parrot Aviary

When: 1:00 p.m., Saturday, April 28, 2007
Where: Iguaca Aviary managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at El Yunque National Forest. Please park at El Portal visitor center.


Cabezas de San Juan Lighthouse Event

When: 12:00 p.m., Monday, April 30, 2007
Where: Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve, Fajardo
Located north of Fajardo on Route #987, Km 5.9 Las Croabas, after Seven Seas Public Beach.
— DOI —